Real Weddings: Happy Anniversary – Tammy and Dan’s 1950’s Americana Wedding

Todays Real Wedding is a throwback as it is Tammy and Dans anniversary! Today I saw a massive vintage american car and it just reminded me of this amazing wedding that we featured last March.  I absolutely adored it.  Seen at it is the New Year, I thought I would take a little look back on a firm favourite of 2016, and here it is.  Tammy and Dan’s 1950’s Americana Wedding.  Its just superb! And not just because it was shot by our very own Maria Farrelly!

So without further ado, you’re about to be overloaded with inspiration! Enjoy!

Real Weddings Banner

I’ve been looking forward to sharing this wedding for AGES!

As well as running Cwtch The Bride, some of you many not realise I’m also a professional photographer. This here blog was initially a little side project for me which has now snowballed into Wales’ best wedding blog EEK! Anyhow, besides having a great team now working with me on this blog, I still photograph weddings. And the one I’m sharing with you today is flipping awesome!

I had the privilege of photographing Tammy & Dan’s 1950’s Americana style wedding last July and hand on heart, it was probably one of my all time favourites! It had everything I love about a great wedding. An awesome Welsh venue, wonderful friends and family, loads of laughter, fabulous music, drinks flowing and bucket loads of love.

So grab yourself a cuppa, get comfy and enjoy!

Oh…and before I forget… this brave couple commissioned me to return the morning after and photograph all their guests hungover (some of which hadn’t slept!). it was great fun and i’ll be sharing those images with you all tomorrow morning! don’t miss that, they are hilarious!

Lets hand you over to the beautiful bride Tammy to tell you all about her awesome wedding!

Maria x

All images by Maria Farrelly Photography

Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon142Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon071What was your budget? 

Our budget was whatever we could save over 3 years including any gift money from Christmas & birthdays, think it amounted to £20,000 which included our dream honeymoon.
It was hard work trying to be strict and save but totally worth it the end and not without a lot of help from family too!Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon086
How would you describe your wedding theme?

50’s Rock & Roll with a splash of Americana :) We love America (especially Florida) and the closest available date for the venue we wanted was 4th July – Independence Day… how could we not add some American touches to the theme :)
We had sparklers and chocolate pretzels for the favours and went all out with American style food such as hot dogs, pulled pork, sweet potatoes and waffles with syrup and ice cream for dessert.Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon016Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon127Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon095
What was your favourite part of your wedding?

My favourite part of the wedding was walking out as Mrs Hagerty back down the aisle and halfway down realising it wasn’t a CD playing ‘All You Need Is Love’… it was a surprise full brass band booked by my father in law and to top it off one of our groomsmen Nathan was singing along with Scott on the drums who plays in a band with Dan – ‘Eric Unseen’.
The BTM Brass band sounded amazing and technically our first dance ended up being straight after the ceremony right there in the aisle.
Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon048Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon049Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon051

Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon050Tell us about your Wedding Dress

I saw a dress in a wedding magazine that was a short 1950’s style with lace sleeves, the dress was by Ellis Bridal.
I wanted to get my dress from the same place that my best friend Kate got hers as they were always very friendly, Sentiments in Bridgend.
I heard that Sentiments had a trunk show for Ellis Bridal so booked myself an appointment.
The dress that I wanted to try on wasn’t there so I tried on a beautiful fishtail version of the dress and it just suited my curvy figure so well!
I tried on plenty of other dresses including shorter styles and as fab as they all were I knew the fishtail style was the one and still in keeping with the 50’s style.
Lots of people commented on my look being very Priscilla Presley which I was over the moon about! Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon007Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon078Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon143
Who did you pick as your bridesmaids &/or best man and why?

We had 6 Bridesmaids and 6 Groomsmen.Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon087Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon088All of them crazy in their own way and we loved having our best friends, sisters and brother by our side!
Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon091Dan couldn’t choose just one best man so he had two … Carl & Rickwood, I think they are now taking bookings as compares! They really were a double act on the day and kept everyone entertained.Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon105As for the bridesmaids they really helped me keep calm getting ready and then once their duties were done got up to their usual antics including photo bombing our professional pictures haha!

Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon137

Why did you choose your venue?

We really wanted a barn venue, and once we saw the Barn at Brynich with its beautiful on site cottages we knew we didn’t need to look any further.
The team at Brynich were brilliant, especially Simon who really looked after us from start to finish of the wedding planning and made sure the day ran smoothly!Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon109
Having the venue for the full weekend was perfect as we really got to make the most of spending time with the family and had plenty of help the day before with making sure everything was set up!
The sunday after the wedding was then time to unwind laugh and reflect! Oh and take morning after shots of the bridal party just for the fun of it! :)Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon069
Tell us about your photographer

Our photographer was Maria Farrelly, I was at a wedding fayre in the Millennium Centre (Cardiff) and after seeing quite a few portfolios I came across her stand and knew that I needed to book her straight away!
The work on her displays and portfolios were the exact style I was after and after speaking with Maria, she was so lovely and genuinely excited about our ideas so far!

Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon152I think after the venue, Maria was the next big tick off the list as it was so important to us that we had a great photographer. We are so happy with how the pictures turned out! Every moment was captured!

Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon008Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon032Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon068Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon157How did the proposal happen? 

Dan took me to Cardiff bay to where he had asked me out 5 years prior, he was so nervous and I was just thinking about what steak I was going to have in Cafe Rouge… then he popped the question! I was over the moon and ended up too overwhelmed to eat my food!Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon043Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon042The following week we jetted off to Venice which was absolutely amazing! No cars from the moment we got off the plane, it was just fascinating.

Any DIY stories/tutorials you’d like to share?

As we both love music we had an idea for a lyric aisle backdrop to hang from the ceiling to the floor and with flowers either side.
It would have been too expensive to have real flowers but thanks to ebay there’s always an option to re-create a similar look cheaper.
The end result looked fab!Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon001Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon002I also made my own american style menu with vintage pictures of celebrities stuffing their faces! The idea just popped into my head and it may have taken me a couple of hours to create it but it looked fun and quirky on the tables.Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon021
We bought lots of sparklers on ebay and then used a template on Pinterest to print out and use as sparkler tags. Its definitely worth seeing what you can find online if you are trying to stick to a budget as all these little things could add up!

What was your first dance & why?

Our first dance song was Elvis Presley ‘Can’t Help Falling In Love’… its one of our favourite songs and we didn’t want anything too modern.
Even though its a slow tempo song, everyone loved to join in swaying around the dance floor and singing the song at the top of their voices :)Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon120Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon121
In hindsight, was there anything you would have done differently?

I do wish we had more video footage of the day but our budget couldn’t have stretched any further.
We have had a few video’s sent to us of the brass band surprise, our first dance and lots of our friends at the end of the night singing in the tipi around the campfire so we will be putting it all together and make our own video mixed in with some of the amazing photo’s we have from the day.

Do you have any advice for future couples?

As much as I love Pinterest, try to remember what is unique to you as a couple and how you can incorporate it in to your day.
The little things really do pay off!
Once all the handwork has been done upfront, when it comes to the actual day… what’s done is done and what isn’t, you just need to forget about!
The most important thing is getting married with all your loved one’s surrounding you.Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon040I had bought a lovely personalised cake topper but when we were decorating the tipi the day prior it had gotten lost… still haven’t found it to this day so I am glad I didn’t spend any time stressing out about it on the wedding day.

What’s the best piece of marriage advice you received?

Never go to sleep without resolving an argument :) Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon059What was your favourite thing about planning a wedding?

Our favourite thing of planning the wedding was shopping for the last bits and pieces like table decor, balloons, bunting and sweets!Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon017

The Suppliers

Photographer: Maria Farrelly
Ceremony Venue:The Barn at Brynich 
Reception Venue:Wedding Tipi (Placed at Barn at Brynich) 
Bride’s Dress:Sentiments Bridal  
Bride’s Shoes: Schuh 
Bride’s Headpiece: Veil by EnVogue and Flower Crown by The Flower Shop
Bride’s Jewellery: wedding ring handmade from Etsy
Groom’s Outfit: Next and Mrs Bowtie 
Bridesmaid’s Dresses: JJ’s House (online)
Cake: By my bridesmaid’s aunty :)
Flowers: The Flower shop Hay On Wye inc my flower crown
Hair: Bella’s Hair Boutique – Styled by Jess Davies (A friend)
Make Up: Amy at Dollybirds Beauty 
Band: Jammy and the dodgers – go see them at The Brewhouse 
DJ: None – We hired a jukebox 
Stationery: Be Our Guest (Etsy)
Caterers: Five Star Chef 
Any Reception Decor/Props: Bunting & Balloons – Not on the high street/hobbycraft , favours – ebay , pretzels – Holland & Barrett
Other:Ceremony Band – BTM Brass Band

Our Wedding Album

Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon001Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon002Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon003Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon004Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon005Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon006Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon007Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon008Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon009Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon010Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon011Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon012Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon013Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon014Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon015Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon016Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon017Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon018Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon019Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon020Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon021Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon022Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon023Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon024Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon025Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon026Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon027Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon028Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon029Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon030Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon031Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon032Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon033Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon034Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon035Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon036Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon037Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon038Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon039Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon040Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon041Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon042Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon043Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon044Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon045Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon046Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon047Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon048Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon049Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon050Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon051Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon052Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon053Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon054Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon055Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon056Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon057Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon058Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon059Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon060Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon061Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon062Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon063Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon064Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon065Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon066Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon067Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon068Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon069Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon070Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon071Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon072Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon073Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon074Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon075Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon076Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon077Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon078Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon079Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon080Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon081Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon082Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon083Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon084Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon085Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon086Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon087Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon088Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon089Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon090Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon091Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon092Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon093Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon094Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon095Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon096Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon097Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon098Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon099Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon100Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon101Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon102Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon103Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon104Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon105Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon106Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon107Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon108Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon109Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon110Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon111Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon112Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon113Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon114Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon115Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon116Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon117Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon118Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon119Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon120Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon121Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon122Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon123Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon124Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon125Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon126Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon127Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon128Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon129Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon130Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon131Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon132Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon133Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon134Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon135Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon136Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon137Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon138Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon139Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon140Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon141Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon142Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon143Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon144Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon145Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon146Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon147Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon148Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon149Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon150Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon151Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon152Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon153Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon154Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon155Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon156Brynich_barn_wedding_brecon157

Real Weddings: Gwen and Trystan’s Farmer Themed Wedding!

Hap hap happy Friday!!!!

We have a bloomin gorgeous wedding for you today! Gwen and Trystan had the most gorgeous day! And it was on her Dad’s farm! Its just so full of lovely DIY bespoke items, and judging by the fabulous images by Vince from Whole Wedding Pictures, everyone had an absolute amazing time!

It is inspiriationaltastic! Enjoy….x

Real Weddings Banner

Gwen and Trystan’s Farmer Themed Wedding!

WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi282GT WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi279GT

How would you describe your wedding theme?

As a Farmer’s daughter and having been brought up on a farm, it meant the world to me to have the wedding on my Parents’ farm and having a farmer themed wedding! This made my Dad laugh, as he explained in his speech that I was the one daughter (out of the three of us) that was least interested in farming as a child! I used to go out farming with my handbag and pearls around my neck!! But having the wedding in a tent on the farm was really special and meant a lot for us as a family. We had a stretch tent in the field with straw bales, two large bride and groom manikins made of hay bales, milk churns and watering cans holding the flowers to name just a few farming items.

WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi337GT WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi330GT

What was your favourite part of your wedding?

The favourite part of the wedding for me without a doubt was the wedding ceremony itself. Everything from arriving at the front of the chapel, walking down the isle, seeing Trystan for the first time, was just incredible.

WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi143GT WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi153GT WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi156GT

We were surrounded by our friends and family who mean so much to us which made the service extra special. Music plays an important part in our lives, therefore having a local male voice choir singing The Rose for us in the Chapel and Trystan’s brother Gwydion and my Cousin Lisa singing a duet of Come what may for added a really nice touch.

WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi185GT

A close friend to us, Dave, played the piano beautifully which made a beautiful vibe to the service and my friend, Sara made a reading of I’ll walk with you which was lovely. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole service and it went way too quick!

Tell us about your Wedding Dress

I found my wedding dress in Huw Rees Brides, Llandeilo. This was only the second bridal shop I visited, but when I tried this dress on I knew it was the one! My Mum came with me to support me and we both made the unanimous decision that this was the one! The dress was called Hanoi from the Blue collection designed by Enzoani.

WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi017GT WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi053GT WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi058GT

I really liked the detail in the top part of the dress and the subtle way it blended into simplicity. I enjoyed the experience of trying on the beautiful dresses however I enjoyed watching the Bridesmaids trying on their dresses more, as I could sit back and relax, enjoying the fashion show!

Who did you pick as your bridesmaids &/or best man and why?

My two sisters, Trystan’s sister and my two friends were the five Bridesmaids on the day and my baby Niece, Cadi who was 8 months at the time was a little flower girl.

WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi096GT WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi117GT

Trystan’s two brothers shared the role of being Best men, and his three ushers were his two friends and his brother in law.

WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi140GT WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi516GT

We had a great time with this crazy lot during the planning of the wedding and more so the hen and stag parties!

Tell us about your photographer

Vince from Whole pictures was the clever man who captured our special day through wonderful photos. Our wedding day was a grey and foggy day and the sun didn’t make an appearance at all. Initially Tryst and I were slightly disappointed, thinking our wedding pictures would look slightly miserable. However, Vince was very excited about the blank canvas the fog created, and felt the weather offered a magical vibe.

WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi533GT

He created fantastic photos both outside on the commons and inside the Chapel and the stretch tent. He spotted a local quirky shed which he was eager for us to have a photo in front of due to it’s rustic, vintage vibe. We are both very pleased with our photos and keep looking at them, reminiscing about our special day.

How did the proposal happen? 

Trystan and I have been together since secondary school, since the ages of 16 and 17. We had been together for over ten years and had been living together in Cardiff for two years. In April 2015, Tryst had been living in London for a period with his work and my friend Katie was living with me whilst he was away. One average Wednesday, I received a bouquet of 12 red roses in my workplace. I was very confused and instantly thought that they must be from a grateful patient of mine. The card read “Caru ti, Tryst x” which means “Love you, Tryst”. Our anniversary wasn’t for another month so I instantly thought that he had done something wrong!! When I tried phoning him, there was no answer so just thought I’ll speak to him later. That night, I returned from work to Katie my housemate demanding that I needed to get changed and get ready to go out. When I asked more questions about where, what, why etc she said she couldn’t say, just that I need to be ready for 7.30pm. As you can imagine I was very confused and did not have a clue what she was up to! I got ready as ordered by 7.30pm and sat quietly on the sofa waiting for more clues. Shortly after, Trystan’s sister turns up at the house and stated that my carriage awaits! She drove me down to Cardiff Bay without giving anything away and did not answer any of my questions. She told me to walk over to the Italian Restaurant, Signor Valentino. As I walked into the restaurant, I looked around looking for a familiar face or a clue as to what was going on and the waiter told me to have a look on the balcony. As I approached the balcony, there I saw Trystan sitting on a table for two, overlooking Cardiff Bay, under a heater with two glasses of champagne. I became all coy and nervous and asked what he was up to. He made a little speech saying how much I meant to him and then asked me to marry him! I was gobsmacked and had the biggest smile on my face. Tryst had to ask again, “so…will you?!” To which I said, YES! It was very romantic I must say!

Any DIY stories/tutorials you’d like to share?

The biggest DIY project of the wedding was the sofas we made from pallets. Trystan’s friend had access to many pallets in his workplace which he kindly put aside for us. Trystan’s Dad is a carpenter so he was able to put them together for us in the style of corner sofas.

His parents own a caravan park therefore had access to lots of old sofa cushions which we shaped to fit the pallet furniture. Both our Mums are very handy with their sawing kits and very cleverly sawed duvet covers over the old sofa cushions. We had a selection of pastel colours on the four pallet corner sofas we made with a selection of scatter cushions to add colour and comfort. We painted the pallets white which made them look very effective. The aim was to have these sofas outside the tent however the weather wasn’t brilliant, therefore we had the sofas inside which worked well to create cosy corners for people to sit and chill when having a break from the dancing!

WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi606GT WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi613GT

What was your first dance & why?

Our first dance was to “All I’ve ever needed” by Nikki Reed & Paul McDonald. It has a gorgeous tune and the lyrics were very relevant. We loved having 2 minutes to ourselves, dancing to this beautiful song.

WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi559GT WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi564GT WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi576GT

In hindsight, was there anything you would have done differently?

We had a big set back to the wedding preparations due to the weather! The stretch tent was supposed to be erected on the Saturday before the wedding, however due to torrential rain and strong winds it was not possible. The next available slot the tent company had to put the tent up was the Tuesday before the wedding and the floor couldn’t go down until the Thursday before the wedding. This made everything behind schedule which made us all panic a little bit. But all the hard work from all out friends and families made it all right on the night! We probably should of been a little more prepared but it’s easily said in hindsight! The crazy week added to the fun I suppose!

WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi533GT

Do you have any advice for future couples?

The day goes soooo fast, as everyone told us! So make sure you take it all in, even the build up to the wedding. Take time to spend with each other, not just mingling with all your guests – after all, the day is about the two of you. Just have fun and don’t let little things stress you out. If things go wrong, just try and laugh about them!

WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi598GT WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi310GT

What’s the best piece of marriage advice you received?

Being an opera singer, Trystan has to travel a lot which means being away from home and away from me. We got married in July and in August he was off to Zurich, Switzerland for 10 and a half months to sing in the Opera house there. With this in mind, the best marriage advice we received was “Let the wife make the husband glad to come home, and let him make her sorry to see him go.”

WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi290GT

What was your favourite thing about planning a wedding?

I enjoyed planning all the arty and crafty things in the wedding such as the invitations, order of service, name places etc. I count myself as quite an organised person so I enjoyed having my notebook full of ideas and a list of things to do and sort. I also had a board on my pinterest page which I loved looking for inspirations. It became quite an addiction towards the end! It was great having our two families working together to create our fantastic day and spending lots of time with our bridesmaids and groom’s men.

WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi229GT WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi499GT WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi512GT

The Suppliers

Photographer: Whole Picture Weddings
Videographer: Clic Productions
Reception Venue: Wedding Tipi
Bride’s Dress: Hugh Rees Brides
Cake: Rhwbeth Melys
Flowers: Sheep Shed Designs
Hair: Salon K27
Make Up: Delwedd Beauty Salon
DJ: DJ Bry

The Wedding Album

WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi002GT WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi017GT WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi018GT WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi034GT WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi048GT WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi049GT WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi053GT WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi058GT WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi062GT WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi066GT WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi096GT WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi100GT WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi102GT WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi107GT WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi117GT WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi122GT WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi123GT WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi127GT WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi130GT WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi131GT WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi136GT WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi138GT WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi140GT WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi143GT WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi144GT WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi148GT WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi151GT WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi153GT WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi156GT WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi159GT WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi162GT WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi173GT WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi175GT WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi177GT WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi185GT WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi192GT WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi193GT WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi197GT WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi200GT WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi202GT WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi221GT WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi223GT WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi229GT WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi230GT WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi232GT WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi235GT WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi264GT WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi272GT WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi275GT WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi279GT WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi282GT WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi286GT WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi290GT WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi291GT WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi297GT WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi301GT WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi306GT WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi309GT WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi310GT WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi323GT WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi325GT WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi326GT WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi327GT WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi328GT WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi329GT WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi330GT WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi332GT WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi334GT WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi335GT WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi337GT WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi353GT WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi362GT WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi364GT WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi378GT WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi385GT WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi386GT WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi416GT WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi447GT WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi461GT WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi466GT WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi467GT WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi499GT WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi512GT WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi516GT WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi533GT WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi539GT WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi547GT WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi552GT WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi558GT WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi559GT WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi564GT WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi576GT WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi580GT WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi583GT WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi587GT WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi598GT WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi606GT WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi609GT WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi610GT WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi613GT WholePictureGwenTrystanTipi614GT 

Real Weddings: Mel and Matts Beautiful Summer Wedding

The weekend is here Cwtchers!! Happy Friday!

And to start you off, we have a beautiful wedding to share with you. Shot by the superb Hannah from Rocksalt Photography, Mel and  Matt tell us all about their beautiful summery day….

Real Weddings Banner

Mel and Matt’s Beautiful Summer Wedding

Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-72

What was your budget?

We did and didn’t have a budget… we tried to be sensible (read “tight”!) but also considered each expense on its necessity, its worth and its contribution to our day!

Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-15

How would you describe your wedding theme?

I called our theme “Summer Gatsby”… all glass and art deco without the black and gold!

Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-54

What was your favourite part of your wedding?

Mel: I think- surprisingly for me- walking down the aisle was my favourite part of our day (surprisingly as I hate being centre of attention)! I was ready. My Dad on my arm, I was walking into the next chapter of my life and my closest friends and family were there to share that moment with me. Wow! That’s pretty sentimental!

Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-34 Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-33
Matt: The band! I love live music and we’d hired an amazing band who entertained us for hours. It was also the time for me to relax and really enjoy celebrating with my new wife and all our guests.

Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-100

Tell us about your Wedding Dress

I was the bride who thought she’d never get married and had no idea what dress I wanted so my plan was to try as many styles as I could to find out what suited me.
My first experience trying on wedding dresses was a last minute appointment at David’s Bridal, Stratford with one of my bridesmaids. We were wandering Westfield after a day in London whilst our other halves went to watch the football at a nearby bar. Little did Pete know, Matt was about to ask Pete to be his best man so whilst I left London without a dress, Matt left London with a Best Man!
Being 5’2″ I never thought I’d go for a mermaid/trumpet style but I fell in love with an Essence of Australia number- during my next appointment at Laura May on Crwys Road, Cardiff- which was exactly that! The fit was perfect, I felt amazing in it (my bum looked great!) and most importantly-, my mum and mother-in-law-to-be loved it! To be sure it was “the one”, I arranged a second appointment with all my bridesmaids who I knew would be honest… even whilst I was 6 months pregnant! Nope, that wasn’t planned! Safe to say it wasn’t as ‘easy’ an appointment as the first however, it confirmed I’d picked the right dress- I just had to fit back into it!

Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-12 Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-14 Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-16

Who did you pick as your bridesmaids &/or best man and why?

Mel: It was pretty easy for me to pick my bridesmaids; my sister was Maid of Honour, or “Chief” as I liked to call her(!), Matt’s sister who I already saw as a sister, my two long-term, best friends and the Best Man’s wife who I clicked with as soon as we met a few years prior. I say it was easy but I always had a feeling something was missing- that something was another friend who I’d grown up with but now lives away. Now here’s the funny part… considering my bridesmaids’ ages and marital situations, it was always a possibility that one of them could fall pregnant before the big day but I never thought 2 of them would! I’d already bought the dresses so we could have had a dilemma but no! I had a plan! Shifting some bridesmaids up a size with the dresses and buying one new one to match the others, there was a spare dress… which fit my other friend perfectly! Now I’m not one to believe in fate but I do believe that some circumstances are meant to be and this was certainly one of them.

Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-3 Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-26 Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-27
Matt: My choice was easy- I chose Pete! Out of my group of friends, I knew he would be the one to a). get me home from my Stag Do in one piece, and b). get me to the church on time… I’m notoriously late for everything and Mel is the complete opposite!

Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-24 Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-23

Why did you choose your venue?

Buckland Hall is a magical place! We fell in love with it the first time we visited. It was the last on our list of a number of venues in Brecon and I was tempted not to even go as their website was a little old fashioned. However, Matt convinced me and as soon as we pulled up to the long winding driveway I had goosebumps and a tear in my eye! That’s the truth! The staff there were so welcoming and we felt like it was ‘home’ from the start.

Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-70 Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-11

Tell us about your photographer

We found Rocksalt (Hannah )after looking at the Welsh Wedding Awards lists and thinking they must be good if they’ve won an award for their region! We arranged to meet Hannah at a pub almost a year before we were getting married and found her easy to get on with from then.
Just before our wedding we met at our venue to discuss the wedding then by the big day it was as if we were old friends!
Hannah had a very easy-going personality which suited our crowd to a ‘T’. She offered advice on ‘staged’ shots (not too many) and arranged some brilliant photographs on the day, making the most of what our venue had to offer. She gauged her audience very well and quickly realised how to tame the rowdy groomsmen and had my brothers rounding up guests like they were cowboys with horses! Hannah had a great sense of humour and was a real pleasure to work with. The quality of her work is outstanding; the creativity with her shots are incredible- we were so excited when we received our photos so promptly after our wedding and the results were truly unforgettable. Hannah really captures the special moments from your day.

Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-64 Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-63 Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-52 Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-66 Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-69 Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-68

How did the proposal happen?

Both Matt & I love Christmas so we woke up Christmas morning in 2013 all excited as usual and Matt said he had some last minute wrapping to do for one of my presents- for anyone who knows Matt, this was totally believable! I was gutted as I had to wait in the bedroom with the door shut- on my own!- until he shouted that he was ready.
So…. “Ready!”
I walked out of the bedroom and he wasn’t in the spare room. I looked at the mirror on the landing and there was a print-out of Santa with the words, “Follow the trail” stuck to it and there were rose petals trailing down the stairs! I followed the trail where there were more Santa print-outs leading me to the living room. I opened the living room door and there was Matt, down on one knee under the Christmas tree with our song at the time (“I’m Yours” by the Script) playing in the background. I took one look at him, began to cry, covered my mouth and said “noooooooo!”… but in the context of “I can’t believe it!”. I think he was a little miffed as he then said, “So will you marry me?”! and it took all of me to nod as I cried like a baby! I was so happy!
The hardest part of being engaged is being told to keep it quiet and this is what Matt said I had to do until lunchtime… every Christmas until we got engaged we’d wake up together but have Christmas lunch separately with our respective families. Matt didn’t want one family to find out before the other so I was told we had to Skype before dinner and that’s when we’d break the good news. Long story short- I had to avoid my Dad’s eye contact for 4-5 hours because Matt told me he’d asked for his permission on Christmas Eve, so he knew our secret! Then we had signal issues at lunch using Skype (think 90’s modem-esq video!) so once our news had finally broken, it was all a bit of a crazy, amazing moment! The best part for me was seeing my mum cry with happiness and my sister telling me she couldn’t choose between crying and eating her paté on toast starter!

Any DIY stories/tutorials you’d like to share?

I’ve always thought of wedding favours as an unnecessary expense, a forgotten ‘gift’ so I wanted to come up with a memorable favour; especially as I see myself as a creative type! After getting some inspiration and a laser printer, I decided we were going to use specialist paper to transfer our initials and each guests’ name and ‘role’ onto champagne glasses they could use on the day.

Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-62 Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-56

To be fair to Matt, he spent many an evening transferring our monogram and individual names onto Ikea glasses, hardening them in the oven then carefully rubbing off the excess paper with isopropyl alcohol. It took so much time and effort we began to wonder whether it was worth it but when my cousin posted an Instagram showing he was using his glass again, it gave us a little warm feeling that actually, we’d made favours that were useful and brought back some amazing memories!

What was your first dance & why?

After buying a house and later having a baby, we spent a few Saturday nights in watching X-Factor and both absolutely loved James Arthur the whole series through! Once X-Factor was finished and the acts pretty much forgotten about, Matt still kept up with James Arthur online and found he’d made an EP called “The James Arthur Project”. One song on there he introduced me to was called “Superman”. It resonated with both of us and became the obvious choice- over The Script and Al Green- to be our wedding song,

Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-97 Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-98

In hindsight, was there anything you would have done differently?

Neither of us can think of anything we would have done differently as it was such a great day. I think I would have liked to have taken more in and thought about myself a bit more and not worried about the guests so much but they make such an effort to come to your day, maybe I should have worried about them more?!

Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-91 Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-99

Do you have any advice for future couples?

We only have the general advice I think; enjoy your day, don’t stress too much, take 5 minutes away from the chaos just for yourselves and remember- the little things don’t REALLY matter!
e.g. No-one noticed there was a bunch of lillies missing from our fireplace, or that my dress didn’t fit me as perfect as I’d hoped after alterations or that all the female guests were missing their ‘tickets’ before sitting down to dinner..!

What was your favourite thing about planning a wedding?

I think we both agree that although we had almost a 2 year gap between booking our wedding and getting married, it’s the final result which makes everything worthwhile. Seeing all your plans come to fruition and your nearest and dearest enjoying what you’ve worked towards is priceless.

Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-71

The Suppliers

Photographer: Rocksalt Photography
Reception Venue: Buckland Hall

Bride’s Dress: Laura May Bridal
Bride’s Jewellery: Accessorize
Bride’s Shoes: Carvela
Groom’s Outfit: https://www.cayzersmenswear.co.uk/
Bridesmaids’ dresses (and shoes): Monsoon
Bridesmaids’ accessories: Accessorize
Cake: Matt @ Cup & Cake Bakery
Flowers: Cath @ Brecon Blooms
Hair: Katie & Becky (Bridesmaid’s sisters)
Make-Up: Emily (Bridesmaid’s sister-in-law)

The Wedding Album

Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-4 Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-5 Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-6 Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-7 Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-8 Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-9 Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-39 Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-40 Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-41 Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-42 Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-43 Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-44 Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-45 Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-46 Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-47 Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-48 Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-49 Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-50 Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-51 Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-52 Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-53 Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-54 Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-55 Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-56 Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-57 Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-58 Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-59 Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-60 Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-61 Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-62 Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-63 Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-64 Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-65 Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-66 Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-67 Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-68 Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-69 Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-70 Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-71 Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-72 Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-73 Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-74 Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-75 Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-76 Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-77 Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-78 Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-79 Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-80 Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-81 Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-82 Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-83 Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-84 Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-85 Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-86 Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-87 Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-88 Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-89 Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-90 Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-91 Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-92 Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-93 Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-94 Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-95 Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-96 Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-97 Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-98 Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-99 Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-1 Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-2 Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-3 Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-10 Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-11 Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-12 Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-13 Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-14 Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-15 Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-16 Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-17 Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-18 Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-19 Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-20 Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-21 Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-22 Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-23 Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-24 Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-25 Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-26 Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-27 Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-28 Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-29 Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-30 Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-31 Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-32 Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-33 Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-34 Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-35 Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-36 Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-37 Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-38 Mel_Matt_Rocksalt-100

Please Help Our Boobless Bride Dawn And Her Family

If you followed Dawn’s Bride to Be ‘Boobless Bride’ Diary posts last year, you will know what an incredibly terrifying and heartbreaking journey she has been on.  You will have also read how her & Steve’s love story went viral and was seen online by millions.

Today, It is with a very heavy heart I write this post.

I’ve sat here for hours trying to find the right words but nothing seems to be working. The tears just roll.

My Cwtch Girls are like sisters to me, best friends, the bridesmaids I never had. The success of Cwtch The Bride has never been down to me. It’s these incredible women that work with me. We all ride this wave together. So when one of my Cwtch Girls are hurt, so am I.

Owen Mathias Photography

Owen Mathias Photography

Last week we were given some devastating news that left us all numb. We didn’t really know how to process it. We cried, we sat there speechless and felt utterly helpless. I wanted to scream and post angry statuses across the blog but I couldn’t find the words. We also needed to get Cwtchfest out of the way before we shared this.

Our brave and inspiring Boobless Bride Dawn had found a new lump. For anyone, finding a lump of any kind is scary. However, When you’ve already battled triple negative Breast Cancer, lost both breasts and survived… this lump brought with it a terrifying new fear.

Dawn let me feel the lump. It was small, about the size of a Cadbury mini egg (sorry… theres a bag of them on my desk and it’s the only thing I can see that’s similar in size). This lump isn’t going away either. It brought with it the devastating news that her cancer is back. Only this time, its worse….it’s incurable and doctors have told her she may only have two years left.

Please let that sink in for a moment. TWO YEARS!

Today, I’m asking for your help. I’m sharing Dawn & Steve’s beautiful wedding again which I had the honour of photographing. They haven’t even celebrated their first wedding anniversary yet.  I want you all to look at each and every photograph and think about how special every moment of this day is. The beauty of life is not seen in staged photographs, its in the everyday moments. The laughter, the tears, the things we don’t realise we take for granted. Our Time.

We all know a wedding day is special yet i’m now learning just how special EVERY day is. Every moment we get to share with loved ones is precious, we just don’t realise how much until we’re told our time is being taken away.

Dawn has two beautiful Daughters Imogen & Maddie whom I’ve gotten to know very well. What makes this all the more heartbreaking is that the girls father (Dawn’s ex), is in the advanced stages of Huntingtons Disease (a progressive brain disorder) and the children are facing the prospect of losing both parents before their teenage years. (This breaks my heart)

17834390_10155162283857790_7925976716969660275_o

Maria Farrelly Photography

How can we help?

Just Giving page has been set up for Dawn and her family. If there is one thing you could do for her right now, Its donate what you can to help fund some very special memories her children need to make with her right now. In the past week (thanks to donations),  Dawn has has already been able to start creating happy memories with her girls. The media are also following this story and helping to raise awareness. But we need to do more.

Dawn asked me to photograph her entire family together last saturday, it was something very important to her. She wanted me to create some fabulous images of her family together before her chemo starts and she loses her hair. (Damn that was so hard to write) I’ll be sharing the images very soon.

Helen from Do you Believe invited Dawn & Imogen into the boutique to try on some wedding dresses. A special moment every daughter cherishes with their mother.

17523708_10155163300022790_3626334250601226665_n 17861648_10155163301912790_3077242924705016920_n 17883508_10155163302232790_7947774582096395145_n

We are planning to organise something very special for Dawn and are asking all our readers and fabulous wedding businesses to come forward and work with us on this. If you’d like to get involved please email us directly here and don’t forget to donate

PLEASE HELP US TO HELP DAWN x

Many thanks,

Maria x 

Real Weddings Banner
Dawn_Steve_Wedding (423 of 964)

Real Weddings: Our Boobless Bride Dawn, and Steve’s Perfect Day

Maria Farrelly got to witness their day, and capture it, makes it even more wonderful.

What was your budget? 

We need to keep the costs as low as possible as I have been off work for over 18 months.  But realistically I think it came in at around £7,000.

How would you describe your wedding theme?

As you already know I have been battling breast cancer for almost 2 years now. In August 2015 I was awaiting very serious scan results to see if the cancer had spread.  A terminal diagnosis would have overshadowed any future plans, I had always wanted to take the children to Disney so thought – right now, I am not terminally ill so would embrace the opportunity to have a carefree time with my girls.  So, with one of my closest friends Marie and her daughter Isabella in tow, we headed off to Euro Disney. Although it should have been the most frightening time of my life, somehow I barely thought of the scan results.  The magic of Disney completely consumed us and we had the best time. One of the days we were there, the children were playing in the Alice and Wonderland Maze.  I can remember feeling so full of love, hope and determination – after all I have so much to live for.  So, when Steve proposed to me it just seemed absolutely right for the theme to be Alice in Wonderland. Not only was it such a positive memory for me with the children, it married well with my love of vintage clothes and big Petticoats!

Dawn_Steve_Wedding (459 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (452 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (448 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (445 of 964)Dawn_Steve_Wedding (500 of 964)
What was your favourite part of your wedding?

I know this is going to sound ridiculously cheesy but for me the best part of the wedding was having all of my loved ones and friends with us to celebrate not only the wedding but getting through the previous 18 months.  It felt like both families really united and all our friends came together to have one hell of a party.  The band were incredible… everyone danced the whole night long.

Dawn_Steve_Wedding (797 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (941 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (949 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (945 of 964)
However, there were two moments that were particularly special for me on the day…

I organised a balloon release in memory of my father.  All guests had a balloon with a label on saying a guests name, the details of the wedding and an email address to tell us how far the balloon had travelled. All of my friends and loved ones gathered on the golf course, each holding a different coloured balloon in memory of his name. Instead of crying I stood proud and watched every balloon slowly float to the clouds – hoping that my dad would see them pass by. Unknown to me at the time, the guests were eagerly trying to find out who had their balloon and it acted as an ice breaker and became their favourite part too.  I would never have dreamed when I planned this part of the wedding that it would become the most special part for me. Each balloon symbolised hope, love and freedom.  It was not sinister or morbid, it was a happy moment with my father close in my thoughts and resulted in one of my favourite photos of the day.

Dawn_Steve_Wedding (537 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (538 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (539 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (543 of 964)

The second moment that was particularly special to me was captured by Maria.  Steve was saving for a VW Camper before he met me, I kind of ruined his plans.  Instead of a vehicle symbolic of freedom and carefree life, he bought an engagement ring and wedding symbolic of restriction and responsibility.  So I decided, I wouldn’t have a stuffy wedding car.  I would hire a vintage VW camper.  So I started ringing around and all of the companies I spoke to quoted over £600 to simply pick me up and take me to the first venue.  So then I discovered ‘Split the Difference’.  A couple who manage a company that hire out VW Campervans.  For the same money I could hire the camper…for a week!!!!  Bosh!!!!  Wedding car and honeymoon sorted in one go.  So… mad you may think, the day before the wedding.  Beth and I (my Maid of Honour) set off from Newport to Wrexham to collect ‘Jessie’ our beautiful camper.  A very slow and long journey home was worth every second when I saw Steve’s face when we came out of the ceremony.  It was sheer delight.  A magical moment.

Dawn_Steve_Wedding (334 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (335 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (336 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (339 of 964)

Tell us about your Wedding Dress

Choosing a wedding dress was always going to be a difficult part of the wedding planning for me. When I met Steve I was a size 12, long legs, beautiful hair (extensions cough cough) and excuse me for being crude but as Steve said “a great rack”. But here I was newly engaged, a size 20, completely bald – not even an eyelash and no breasts. I thought it would be impossible to find anything that I would feel beautiful in. But my sister-in-law was fantastic she came to shop after shop in a bid to find this miraculous dress that in essence would replicate the powers of the Harry Potter invisibility cloak. You know… make me feel thin, attractive and sexy – all the things I did not. I came out of every bridal shop feeling exactly the same; deflated, insecure and reluctant to continue looking. Then Beth reminded me of how wonderful Helen at Do you believe? in Newport had been when she married my brother. So we headed to Helen in a bid to find a wedding dress like no other.

Immediately Helen made me believe that not only could we find a beautiful dress but one that would meet my very obscure specification. Tea length dress with a vintage feel that would nip in at the waist, have a high neck to hide my prosthetics and sleeves that would enable me to cover my arms as the Lymphedema swelling is very unpredictable…. oh and more importantly would go with my beautiful blue petticoat that I bought at the vintage Fair in Cardiff.  Helen didn’t feel that she had anything that match this criteria, however this was not going to stop Helen giving me that bridal moment. Together we designed my dress – a completely bespoke dress. We chose the style together, the lace, the embellishment and I simply knew that she would give me a beautiful dress.Dawn_Steve_Wedding (25 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (27 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (31 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (33 of 964)
Everything was going beautifully and as with all perfectly laid plans we hit a problem. Where I’ve had the mastectomy fat pockets collect in the most bizarre and unusual of places so imagine my surprise when I have my final fitting and discover my body has miraculously started to grow its own breasts!!!! On my bloody back!!! That’s right – my dress is done up and from the front I look beautiful… but…I turn around and there hanging over the back of my dress are what can only be described as two of the biggest boobs I have ever seen made from back fat. So as you can imagine the meltdown began. Helen with the help of Val at House of Couture in Maindee set about hiding my new assets.  They removed the cap sleeves, found a lace bolero and added embellishment to the edge of my dress to match.  Before I knew it I was feeling more confident again. I would be lying if I told you that I didn’t wish I was a size 10 with long flowing hair a beautiful waistline and an ample bosom, but with all things considered I felt as beautiful as I ever could have felt on the day and that was all thanks to Helen going above and beyond what was required of her. I was absolutely delighted when Helen agreed to be a guest at the wedding because truly I went into her bridal shop a customer and came out a dear friend.

Who did you pick as your bridesmaids &/or best man and why?

Picking the bridesmaids was probably one of the most difficult tasks for me when it came to the wedding.  How could you choose a select few when so many had been wonderful to me over the years.  One thing that I did know, I wanted my sister-in-law Beth to be my Maid of Honour, she has become more like a sister to me over recent years and would keep me calm on the day.  But how do I chose the bridesmaids?  There’s Cath – the bestie that went all through school with me and shared many a night on MD 20/20 with me in Caerleon? Boon -who went all through college with me, can make me laugh in any situation and is yet to have a boyfriend with an actual name!?  Pirate!? ASDA!? Millionaire Guy?!  No idea what any of them were actually called… go figure. Jodie – who was there when I had a complete melt down and stayed sober enough to make sure my antics came back to bite me in the bum. Emma – my partner in crime on school trips who is my rock when it comes to the children or Lindsay who swam across the river Thames with me after a drunken night as it looks like a shortcut. I mean how can you choose from such a high calibre of Friends lol? Simple really…. I asked them all!!!  Now don’t get me wrong there could have been so many more as so many of my friends have been an incredible support over the years but most of them were married and it made sense that they could sit in the congregation with their husbands. So that what it… my 6 Single Sisters would be asked to be my bridesmaids.

Dawn_Steve_Wedding (20 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (392 of 964)

Now for the flower girls…well we’ve got three children between us Imogen, Madeleine and Yvie and I couldn’t leave out Ngaire and Isabella who are like daughters to me, so the bridal party doubled in size. I know what you’re thinking… more people are going to walk down the aisle than be seated but that’s a luxury of it being MY wedding… I can do just as I please – so I did.

Dawn_Steve_Wedding (148 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (158 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (167 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (399 of 964)

As for the best man it was a simple choice for Steve.  He asked his lifelong friend and advisor Mike.  Mike was given the job of embarrassing Steve and boy did he do a brilliant job of that. He provided one of the best speeches I’ve ever heard –  and he tucked me up beautifully by quoting some of my face book posts during our time together.  All based around food which poo poo’d my theory that the weight gain was solely down to steroids during treatment.  Damn him lol.

Dawn_Steve_Wedding (599 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (605 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (619 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (660 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (654 of 964)

Why did you choose your venue?

The Venue for us was very easy. When I was going through treatment we would go to Bellevue Park in Newport a couple of times a week to feed the squirrels. It was just about all I could manage but it was a beautiful location, the children absolutely loved finding squirrels and we enjoyed amazing food and drinks in the cafe. We became good friends with Matt and his team at Parc Pantry and new immediately this would be where the ceremony will be held.

Dawn_Steve_Wedding (206 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (224 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (236 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (361 of 964)

When we started to put invites together it was quite apparent that congregation was going to be too big to fit in this venue for the whole day so looked for an evening venue. We Struck Gold when we found Tredegar Park Golf Club.  Not only were the grounds absolutely breath-taking, but Neil and Kim were absolutely exceptional from start to finish. Although they had never done it before, they accommodated an afternoon tea as the wedding breakfast and purchased vintage crockery to make the tables look authentic.  The food was plentiful, cakes as fresh as if they had just come out of a bakery and the hog roast was a massive hit. The function room is beautiful, big windows overlooking the course and exposed beams giving a wonderful ambience and we even got to sit with Neil for an hour at the end of the night and share what a wonderful time we had. I cannot recommend both venues more highly – they truly made it a magical day.

Dawn_Steve_Wedding (440 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (441 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (525 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (682 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (704 of 964)

Tell us about your photographer

I’ve been very fortunate when planning my wedding, things just seemed to fall into place.  Not only was I able to enjoy all the girlie aspects of planning it, but I actually met a number people that have gone on to be really good friends. None more so than your very own Cwtch Queen, Maria Farrelly.  When a friend of mine Amy recommended I entered the competition to join Cwtch The Bride as a ‘Bride to Be’ contributor, I never dreamt that I would not only win, but meet an incredible group of women. I found in Maria a kindred spirit, we instantly hit it off and I found writing the blogs not only purposeful but therapeutic. When Maria when I started talking more we realised we had a lot in common and although women follow cwtch from all areas in Wales, we actually lived very close to each other… so we met up and have grown closer friends ever since.

At this point I did have a photographer booked but fate stepped in and my photographer called to explain they had been double booked. Immediately I got in touch with Maria in hope that she may be available. Maria had very few dates available so it was looking unlikely that this would be an option, however I truly believe it was just meant to be as she was indeed available on the 28th of May. Without even looking at any of her photographs of portfolio I booked her. I am a people person and knew instantly I wanted her involved in the day and trusted that she would give us the most beautiful photos.  More importantly she understood my body confidence issues and could help me work through that on the day – and I wasn’t disappointed. She made us feel relaxed and was the professional throughout.  At no point did it feel staged or uncomfortable – in fact at some point I don’t even remember her being there.  She disappeared into the shadows and captured every moment beautifully.  The only thing I regret is that because she was so busy working on the day she was unable to really celebrate with me.  She is a dear friend of mine now and I would have liked her to have been there as a guest.

How did the proposal happen? 

Well, unknown to me, Steve has tried on 4 different occasions to propose, but because I had just had the all clear and the kids were off school – I kept bringing the girls along to our ‘date day’ – oops.  So eventually Stephen put his foot down – “I haven’t had a day on my own with you since your ‘all clear’ so we need some ‘us’ time.  I agreed, and we decided to celebrate by climbing pen-y-fan, it would be symbolic of the journey we have climbed.  True Welsh style, it hammered down with rain. Someone got struck by lightning up there during the last storm so we both agreed that I have danced with the devil lately as it is so this would be stupid.  So instead we would head to Neath Waterfalls.  8 Miles we walked – 4 waterfalls later and a beautiful day had by all.  Soaked through we went back to the car, changed into dry clothes and went into a little hikers pub.  We had a beautiful meal and I said – as if setting the moment “this is a beautiful pub, warm, lovely and full of character – if I ever get married again I’m going to take up hiking to shift the weight” with that he said – best start walking then and put a little black box – not the type that find aeroplanes – this is the one that finds tears, immediately.  Tears rolling down my cheek he asked if I would marry him – of course I said yes.

Dawn_Steve_Wedding (512 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (513 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (514 of 964)

But this is not the real story of the proposal – the real story is how I ruined the intended proposal.  Picture this – beautiful waterfall, full as it was raining so heavily, no one around, beautiful sounds of wildlife active in the storm…I’m stood on a little bridge gazing into the waterfall.  Steve walks to me, puts his arm around me (in his head this is the moment) – “Dawn” Steve said… “Yes babes” I said…. then before he could say another word I interrupt him – I’m known for it, I’m an excitable person – to advise him that I would like to head back to the car soon as I’m that wet my pants are soaking and its chaffing my arse.  NOOOOOOO!!!!! Moment killed…so that was the end of the beautiful waterfall proposal.  Oops.  But to be honest, it makes the whole ordeal more ‘me-like’.

Any DIY stories/tutorials you’d like to share?

For me the little touches in a wedding are what makes it special. So I spent hours making little bits and pieces that would make the difference on the table. I ordered off eBay bags of little brass keys and painstakingly tied luggage labels to them for name cards that would complement the theme. I also wrapped all the cutlery in beautiful little Ribbons embroidered with mine and Steve’s name and the date of the wedding.

One of my bridesmaids Lindsay also made beautiful favours for me which really added to the impact of the Alice and Wonderland theme.  Little mini eggs in jars with ‘eat me’ labels and small shot bottles with ‘drink me’ – everyone commented on how beautiful they were.

Dawn_Steve_Wedding (443 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (464 of 964)

I designed vintage themed name labels and used Microsoft Excel to mail merge them so that they could be printed on mass in a few minutes.  Ladies – MAIL MERGE IS THE WAY FORWARD – it saved me hours, was the best thing I did. Finally, the centrepieces I made myself by simply collecting old vintage books from car boot sales and tying them in hessian and lace. I couldn’t have been happier with my tables and my boss was so impressed he tried to convince me that there was a career in wedding planning for me!!!

What was your first dance & why?

When Stephen I first started getting serious it was a standing joke that he wouldn’t say he loved me – just that he tolerated me more than anyone else he had ever met.  This went on to him saying he would write his own vows as he could not commit to ‘til death us do part’ as he had no way of knowing what the future held.  (Of course this is all bants)  But it seemed only fitting to have a song that was special for us bad had the underlying tone of sarcasm that Steve is renowned for. So there was only really one choice it had to be Beach Boys, God Only Knows – Steve was a keen Surfer in his youth and I genuinely would not have got through the relentless treatment and surgery without him, so I really don’t know what I would be without him. Plus the first line said ‘I may not always love you’ anyone that knows Stephen would find this funny. So we both started the first dance, awkwardly swaying back and forth singing to each other at top pelt ‘I MAY NOT ALWAYS LOVE YOU and sobbing by the ‘God only knows what I’d be without you’ line… but found the children surrounding us in a circle – never one to miss an opportunity I pulled the kids into our dance and our romantic moment became the ‘Okey Kokey’.  It was amazing.

Dawn_Steve_Wedding (755 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (764 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (765 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (766 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (767 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (774 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (780 of 964)

In hindsight, was there anything you would have done differently?

In hindsight the only thing that I would have done differently was not wait so long to get married (although 9 months sounds a short engagement in our situation we should have seized the day). We waited until May hoping that my father would have overcome his treatment for leukaemia, little did we know that by waiting that few extra months, my father would not be there.  And that truly breaks my heart.

Dawn_Steve_Wedding (470 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (471 of 964)

Do you have any advice for future couples?

The best bit of advice I can give to future couples is…don’t get so pulled into the obsessive perfectionism of the day and lose the significance of why you are there in the first place.  Enjoy every second the day will be over in a flash.  Stephen and I had a good 90 minutes to leisurely have photos taken, but we were in our own golf buggy travelling across the golf course which gave us time to enjoy the moment together before the ‘mingling’ and ‘drinking’ began.   We were completely loved up in that moment. I think every bride and groom should time at least an hour alone – not surrounded by photographers and caterers and bridesmaids but the two of you alone in love – time to … just be.

Dawn_Steve_Wedding (479 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (481 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (526 of 964)

What’s the best piece of marriage advice you received?

I’m not sure this is a piece of marriage advice but it is my mantra – the way I keep positive and happy… with a little Dawnism thrown in for good measure.
Live every moment – Don’t waste time arguing, say your piece and move on.
Laugh everyday – Get pleasure in those little moments (I recommend Alphabet dating)
Love beyond words – Don’t assume they know, tell them every day.
And dance like nobody’s watching – Don’t worry what other people think… dance together in the rain!

What was your favourite thing about planning a wedding?

The best part for me about planning the wedding was meeting so many amazing people along the way. Although I went to them as a client I genuinely felt I met friends – I have already mentioned so many but there was Molly – the lead singer of The Supers.  They were an incredible band that got everyone dancing, completely adjusted their running order to fit around the beautiful weather and played like their life depended on it.  Lucy and the Girls that had 11x hair and makeup to do in one morning…what an accomplishment and great fun. Pat and Paul who let us use Jessie and made the most beautiful bouquet as decoration inside, Neil at AJC Cardiff who designed and created the most beautiful engagement and wedding ring, Elisa who designed the table plan, Hilary at Hilarys flowers who produced the most beautiful Top Table pieces using cake stands… too many to name everyone but thank you all the same.  I just seemed to experience such kindness and generosity – One lady on ebay for example… I sent her a picture from Pinterest of a setting I was trying to recreate…she went to the length of folding about 30 different napkins in the exact way I showed her, with cutlery, photographed them and sent the pics to me so I could see what went best with the crockery I had.  It must have taken her hours… all because she wanted to do her bit to make my day special.  It’s completely restored my faith in humanity because it’s easy to only remember the idiots that plague your day.

The Suppliers

Photographer:  Maria Farrelly
Ceremony Venue: Belle Vue Parc, Newport (Parc Pantry)
Reception Venue: Tredegar Park Golf Club
Bride’s Dress:  Helen’s own Label, Do You Believe?
Bride’s Shoes: Elegant Steps
Bride’s Headpiece:  Val, House of Couture
Bride’s Jewellery:  A locket my dad gave my mum
Groom’s Outfit: Slaters
Bridesmaid’s Dresses: True Bride
Bridesmaid’s Accessories: Etsy
Cake: Emma Baker, The Retro Cake Company
Flowers:  Hilary’s Flowers
Hair: Beautilicious – Lucy
Make Up: Beautilicious – Lucy
Band: The Supers, Bristol
Stationery: Elisa by Design
Any Reception Decor/Props: Forever Bows
Transport: Split the Difference
Other:  MASSIVE THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO MADE OUR DAY SO SPECIAL

The Wedding Album

Dawn_Steve_Wedding (1 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (5 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (10 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (14 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (15 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (20 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (25 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (27 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (31 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (33 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (35 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (38 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (43 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (46 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (55 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (58 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (59 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (62 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (63 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (66 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (70 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (72 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (74 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (78 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (83 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (87 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (91 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (96 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (97 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (98 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (112 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (113 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (114 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (116 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (125 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (127 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (130 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (132 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (137 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (148 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (158 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (161 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (167 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (172 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (173 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (177 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (190 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (191 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (193 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (194 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (195 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (197 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (202 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (203 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (206 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (208 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (213 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (215 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (218 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (219 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (224 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (236 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (239 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (245 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (249 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (254 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (256 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (257 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (266 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (271 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (272 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (276 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (277 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (280 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (281 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (284 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (286 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (287 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (288 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (289 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (290 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (295 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (302 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (306 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (311 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (314 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (331 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (334 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (335 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (336 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (339 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (341 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (346 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (349 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (350 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (355 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (361 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (381 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (386 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (387 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (392 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (399 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (406 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (407 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (409 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (415 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (418 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (420 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (423 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (424 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (425 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (428 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (429 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (431 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (432 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (440 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (441 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (443 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (445 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (446 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (448 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (452 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (456 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (459 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (464 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (467 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (470 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (471 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (479 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (481 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (484 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (491 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (500 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (502 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (505 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (507 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (512 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (513 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (514 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (520 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (525 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (526 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (537 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (538 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (539 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (543 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (559 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (563 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (565 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (585 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (599 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (605 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (617 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (619 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (650 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (654 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (660 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (668 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (682 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (704 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (755 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (764 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (765 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (766 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (767 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (774 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (780 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (797 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (819 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (829 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (941 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (945 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (949 of 964) Dawn_Steve_Wedding (952 of 964)

Real Weddings: Lauren and Paul by Jessica O’Shaughnessy

Happy Friday one and all!

We have such a pretty wedding for you today, and all done beautifully on a £10,000 budget! This in itself is a miracle, but its so gorgeous as well.

I will hand over to Lauren and Paul, to tell us all about their big day, which was captured beautiful by Jessica O’Shaughnessy

Real Weddings Banner

Lauren and Paul

Lauren&Paul45

What was your budget?

Our budget was £10,000.

How would you describe your wedding theme?

I would describe our wedding theme as vintage folk with just a hint of rock and roll.

Lauren&Paul22 Lauren&Paul63 Lauren&Paul51

What was your favourite part of your wedding?

Lauren: My favourite part of the wedding was asking our guest to sing ‘Wouldn’t it be nice’ by the Beach Boys as part of the service. As we were having a civil ceremony we decided to incorporate an element of a traditional church wedding (singing the hymns) in a non-religious way. We wanted our guest to feel actively engaged with the ceremony and we also wanted them to stay on their toes.

Lauren&Paul26
Paul: My favourite part of the wedding was the speeches. We took a non-traditional approach and encourage the best men and the bridesmaids to get involved. Rachael (Lauren’s sister) a long with the other bridesmaids (Hollie, Sophie and Freya) sang an edited rendition of ‘Crashed the wedding’ by Busted (one if Lauren’s favourite bands). They edited the words, printed scrolls for all of the guests and invited everyone to sing-a-long) it was absolutely hilarious.

Lauren&Paul73 Lauren&Paul75 Lauren&Paul79 Lauren&Paul80 Lauren&Paul74 Lauren&Paul76 Lauren&Paul81

They definitely set the tone for the speeches and all of the pressure was then on the ‘Adequate Men’. As I had 3 best men each of them took responsibility for telling different stories from different points in my life. The speeches included pictures (which all of the guests had a copy of) and a little toy pony called Jeff (who had been an integral part f the stag do). I must also mention Lauren’s Dad, Craig, who opened proceedings and did an amazing job of both embarrassing the bride with funny stories and expressing his pride about the lovely young woman she has become.Lauren&Paul81

Tell us about your Wedding Dress

The hunt for the perfect wedding dress began early in 2015. My Mum, Sister and I decided on one Saturday morning that we would go into Chester and try some dresses on in some of the Bridal shops. I was the first one of my close friends to get married and so had no idea about protocol.  As a result it some became apparent that just turning up and asking to try dresses on wasn’t the way things were done. One shop allowed me to try on a couple of dresses however I was advised that they only stocked sizes 8-10 and therefore none of the dresses were going to fit me properly. The whole experience was very unpleasant as I left feeling fat and uncomfortable. I already had a very clear picture in my mind of what sort of dress I wanted but this would prove very difficult to find. In wasn’t until the summer of 2015 that we tried again. I had discovered a discount Bridal store in Newcastle upon Tyne (which is where Paul and I live). My Mum, Sister and Nan came to stay for the weekend and we visited the store. The staff were amazing, they had hundreds of dresses in different styles and sizes. This experience I really enjoyed. On that day I tried on 4 dresses, I knew instantly that I had found ‘the one’. We bought it then and there. In the months that followed I tried on 3 other wedding dresses as I wanted to be sure that I had made the right decision. I had. No other dress even compared.

Lauren&Paul4 Lauren&Paul5 Lauren&Paul18 Lauren&Paul16

Who did you pick as your bridesmaids &/or best man and why?

Lauren: My family are really close and I am lucky enough to have cousins who are like sisters to me. I choose my sister Rachael and my cousins Hollie, Sophie and Freya to be my bridesmaids. I also choose my younger cousin Isobel to be our flower girl. They looked beautiful and did an amazing job of keeping me calm and getting me drunk before the ceremony.

Lauren&Paul48

Paul: I decided not to have one best man and instead had ‘The three adequate men’. Matt, my brother and Will and Blandy two of my best friends were in charge of best men duties and they did an outstanding job-from planning and facilitating my two stag do’s to delivering their speeches. I couldn’t have asked for more.

Lauren&Paul49

Why did you choose your venue?

We wanted the wedding to be as informal as possible. We talked about the fact that we wanted the wedding to reflect the freedom that we felt at festivals or when we went away camping with our friends. Listening to music we loved, drinking and talking into the early hours. We didn’t want to be constrained by formalities. We also wanted the venue to be stunning and unforgettable.

Lauren&Paul50

Tower Hill Barns ticked all of these boxes. We booked our wedding when the refurbishment was still happening but we knew from the plans that it was exactly what we wanted. The setting, the buildings, the gardens and the staff were amazing. It really was the dream wedding.

Tell us about your photographer

I found Jessica by chance. I had been searching for photographers over Christmas and happened to come across her website. I had a very specific image in my head of what our wedding photographs should look like. I hated the idea of forced pictures with fake smiles and formal compositions. When I saw Jessica’s work I knew she was the one. Her images are so informal, they capture moments of reality. You can see from the images that when people are smiling it’s because they are happy and having a good time. She was outstanding. She added so much to our day and she has created images that truly depict our personalities and exemplify the emotions of the day. She was so professional but also a friend. When I was unsure about what was happening or where people should be, she took that pressure away from me, reassuring us that everything was as it should be. I can’t thank Jessica enough for the role she played that day or for the amazing moments she captured.

Lauren&Paul43 Lauren&Paul46 Lauren&Paul36

How did the proposal happen? 

Originally Paul is from Cumbria and as a result we have spent a lot of time in the Lake District. We had planned to go back for the weekend with some of our friends for a get together. On the journey over I had asked to use Paul’s phone as my battery had died and he was very sketchy about handing it to me, this started alarm bells ringing and I honestly thought the worst ‘there is someone else’.

When we arrived at Paul’s Mum and Dad’s house all was calm. We spent the evening with our friends and usually this would result in a very late night and a horrible hangover the next morning. As 1am approached Paul suggested that we should get some sleep, this was very out of character. The next morning we woke up and got ready to go for a walk with our friends. They had gone home to get ready and this seemed to be taking them a very long time. They finally returned at about 12.30pm and we set off to Lake Ullswater for a walk.

We pottered around the Lake, threw some stones and dipped our feet into the water. As I was walking back the shore I turned to see my friends had formed a horse shoe around Paul who had got down on one knee. He pulled the ring from his pocket and asked ‘will you marry me?’. He may have also said something else before the words came out but I honestly can’t remember, it is all a blur. I covered my face and started to cry and asked ‘are you joking’? He laughed and replied no. I of course said yes. We popped a bottle of champagne and enjoyed ghe moment with our best friends. I began trying to call my Mum and my Sister. There was no answer. Paul pacified me and said we would go home, get changed and head into town for some celebration drinks, he also reassured me that I could keep trying to ring them for as long as it took.

As we pulled into the drive of Paul’s Mum and Dad’s all seemed calm as we had left it. Paul took my hand and walked me through the house out into the garden, I could smell smoke. As we turned the corner music began to play, I look down the garden and there was my entire family, who had driven up from the Chester in the morning, all of our friends, a BBQ and a gazebo set up in the garden. Paul had organised a surprise engagement party. I cried as my Dad hugged me. Paul hadn’t wanted me to use his phone as he had been texting my Mum and Sister organising the party.
The engagement party set the tone for the wedding. We knew that we wanted the wedding day to reflect the laid back and fun atmosphere he had created on that day. People still ask Paul ‘what would you have done if she had said no’ and his answer is always ‘I knew she would say yes’.

Lauren&Paul92 Lauren&Paul95 Lauren&Paul94

Any DIY stories/tutorials you’d like to share?

Buy a decent printer and make your own invitations-this saved us a fortune. Everything was done on publisher and all you have to do is download different font styles and images from the internet. I was really proud of our invitations.
We did the same with our seating plan, I mocked it up on publisher and then we sent it to be printed on canvass. I really liked having creative control and again it was so simple to do.

Lauren&Paul61 Lauren&Paul69
My mum spent a year buying crystal vases from charity shops for our table decorations. we filled each of them with gypsophila. Each of the vases was slightly different and this added to there charm.

Lauren&Paul68
We bought all of the decorations ourselves and on the morning of the wedding my Mum conducted a team of happy helpers to decorate the venue. We couldn’t have done it without her.
My favourite decoration was a guitar which my Mum re-designed. She painted and added the lyrics to one of our favourite songs-this was a surprise for Paul on the day. All of these little touches really make the difference and made the day ours.

What was your first dance & why?

We spent months deciding on our first dance. Both Paul and I are really into music, it has been a very significant part of our relationship. We selected songs that had meant something to us throughout our relationship and rated them out of 10. Then one evening we discovered a cover of ‘Don’t let me down’ originally by the Beatles, but beautifully remastered by one of our favourite artists Paolo Nutini. We knew this was the one. It felt significant that this was a new song in our relationship and would forever only be associated with our first dance. We kept it a secret until the day and it was absolutely perfect.
As a homage to the other songs that we had wanted, we incorporated them into our vows, selecting specific parts and re-writing them into our own words.

Lauren&Paul84 Lauren&Paul85

In hindsight, was there anything you would have done differently?

The only thing we would have done differently is hiring a live band. This would have been more in-keeping with theme and would have added another element of fun. But this is a minor detail for us as the DJ was absolutely fantastic.

Lauren&Paul87

Do you have any advice for future couples?

Be really fussy about you DJ. I spent months searching for a DJ who would be willing to only play songs that we suggested. We asked our guests to choose 5 songs that they would like to hear and we also created our own wedding playlist. As I already mentioned music is a very big part of our relationship and we wanted the music played to reflect who we are as people and not be the standard wedding tunes. The DJ was amazing, they got just the right mix of soul, rock and roll and Indie tunes.

Lauren&Paul88 Lauren&Paul90 Lauren&Paul91

What’s the best piece of marriage advice you received?

It will be exactly the same as it was before. It is. Nothing changes, you wake up in the morning and bask in the idea that you have engaged in a traditional rite of passage that means that you are now part of a club in society with millions of other people. But how you feel about each other and who you are doesn’t change. That’s the most amazing thing about it, you have this incredible day which celebrates your love for each other and everyone who is important in your life, but then you just go back to your normal life, with a ring on your finger and memories that you will cherish for a life time.

Lauren&Paul72

What was your favourite thing about planning a wedding?

I adored planning the wedding. There are so many parts of the planning process that I loved: finding the venue, thinking of the theme and seeing it all come to life, creating the invitations, planning the table dressings with my Mum, coming up with the playlist, designing my cake with Jan which was absolutely beautiful. All of those things add to the excitement and contribute to the build up. At no point did I feel pressured or stressed because we had so much support from everyone around us. I love the fact that everyone played a part in making our wedding perfect, it was a team effort and that truly reflects our relationship with our families and friends.

Lauren&Paul40

The Suppliers

Photographer: Jessica O’Shaughnessy
Ceremony Venue: Tower Hill Barns 
Reception Venue: Tower Hill Barns
Bride’s Dress: WED2B 
Bride’s Shoes: Aliexpress 
Bride’s Headpiece: A Day to Remember 
Groom’s Outfit: Slaters 
Bridesmaid’s Dresses: Debenhams 
Cake: Too Good To Eat Wedding Cakes 
Flowers: Flowers by Gaynor 
Hair: Laura O’Callaghan 
Make Up: Laura O’Callaghan 
DJ: Big Boss Man 

The Wedding Album

Lauren&Paul1 Lauren&Paul2 Lauren&Paul3 Lauren&Paul4 Lauren&Paul5 Lauren&Paul6 Lauren&Paul7 Lauren&Paul8 Lauren&Paul9 Lauren&Paul10 Lauren&Paul11 Lauren&Paul12 Lauren&Paul13 Lauren&Paul14 Lauren&Paul15 Lauren&Paul16 Lauren&Paul17 Lauren&Paul18 Lauren&Paul19 Lauren&Paul20 Lauren&Paul21 Lauren&Paul22 Lauren&Paul23 Lauren&Paul24 Lauren&Paul25 Lauren&Paul26 Lauren&Paul27 Lauren&Paul28 Lauren&Paul29 Lauren&Paul30 Lauren&Paul31 Lauren&Paul32 Lauren&Paul33 Lauren&Paul34 Lauren&Paul35 Lauren&Paul36 Lauren&Paul37 Lauren&Paul38 Lauren&Paul39 Lauren&Paul40 Lauren&Paul41 Lauren&Paul42 Lauren&Paul43 Lauren&Paul44 Lauren&Paul45 Lauren&Paul46 Lauren&Paul47 Lauren&Paul48 Lauren&Paul49 Lauren&Paul50 Lauren&Paul51 Lauren&Paul52 Lauren&Paul53 Lauren&Paul54 Lauren&Paul55 Lauren&Paul56 Lauren&Paul57 Lauren&Paul58 Lauren&Paul59 Lauren&Paul60 Lauren&Paul61 Lauren&Paul62 Lauren&Paul63 Lauren&Paul64 Lauren&Paul65 Lauren&Paul66 Lauren&Paul67 Lauren&Paul68 Lauren&Paul69 Lauren&Paul70 Lauren&Paul71 Lauren&Paul72 Lauren&Paul73 Lauren&Paul74 Lauren&Paul75 Lauren&Paul76 Lauren&Paul77 Lauren&Paul78 Lauren&Paul79 Lauren&Paul80 Lauren&Paul81 Lauren&Paul82 Lauren&Paul83 Lauren&Paul84 Lauren&Paul85 Lauren&Paul86 Lauren&Paul87 Lauren&Paul88 Lauren&Paul89 Lauren&Paul90 Lauren&Paul91 Lauren&Paul92 Lauren&Paul93 Lauren&Paul94 Lauren&Paul95